The prospects for the day were quite bleak. The sky had wept inconsolably since dawn. Bunny sincerely wished it would stop crying. It made her feel blue. Her parents were having lunch at the Slaughtered Watermelon having Bloody Blueberries and Kohlrabi Crisps. That left her older bratty brothers in charge while they were away. She wished her parents would come home. She also wished her mother would read her a story. Mother’s stories were never weepy or sad.
Her bratty brothers were upstairs stomping on the floor playing Space Pirates and Mutant Marshmallows. She asked if she could play. “Only if you want to be a mutant marshmallow,” said Gus, the younger brother. “I am not a mutant. I am a little girl,” she responded indignantly. “Then go downstairs and be a little girl,” said Jack and the brothers laughed.
Down she went. The thumping and bumping grew louder upstairs. “Take that, villainous marshmallow!” cried Jack, smacking something vigorously. She wished they would just stop.
Bunny was a little girl in Nebraska who was brighter than a photon and usually quite cheerful. At the moment she had to have a stern talk with herself, “Don’t be so glum. Things are bound to get better. Then there are the crumbly wimbles.”
Crumby wimbles were fuzzy creatures with large sad eyes that lived under her bed and they were crying fearfully. “Please stop,” she said coaxingly, and I’ll tell you a story.” Three nebulous bodies and six wide eyes peeped out. “Will it be a good story?” asked the nearest and most blurry. “It will be about you,” she replied and began:
“The crumbly wimbles taught the snails
To capture moonbeams in their pails
And how to skimble up the hills
To create those lovely moonlight spills.”
“That wasn’t very long,” complained another of the fluffs. “It will have to do,” she ended firmly. And then the doorbell rang.
It was the post man with a large package, which he handed her with a smile as wide as Nebraska. It was addressed to her! It was from Aunt Neither and Uncle Either, who lived on a dude chipmunk ranch in far-off Ganderimich.
It was wrapped in brown paper, which Bunny tore open so quickly her hands were a blur. Inside was a large tinplate lithographed cube with rounded edges. It had a slot on top and a crank on one side. On the front was a cast-iron rim with a lip that could be lifted, like the letter slot in an apartment door. There were colorful pictures on every side and there was a stamp on the bottom that read “The Wishilator that made Milwaukee famous.”
The colors were very bright: vermillion, azure, gold, tangerine, emerald, and violet. Each side had a strange animal. There was a rufus sided toejammer, a reticulated pypan, an ardvarkarkinark, and a spoon-billed platitude. On the top was a butterflitter.
There were instructions in English, Spanish, French, and Elvish: “(1) Place crumpled, tarnished, unfulfilled dreams in slot at top; (2) Turn crank on side counterclockwise at least twelve times; (3) Lift lid on front and remove wish, washed, pressed and folded, for further use.”
Bunny looked doubtfully at the Wishilator, but took out her crumpled wishes nonetheless. “I wish my parents would come home,” was the first. In it went at the top and Bunny cranked. As she did so she swore the box played something by Mozart. How nice! No, it sounded more like something from the Beetles. No, it was a combination of both at the same time, as if Mozart had scored a Beetles’ song. Brilliant! She lifted the cast iron lid on the front of the cube and out came her wish, washed, pressed and folded, as the instructions had promised.
She put in her second creased and crinkled wish, “I wish my brothers would stop that racket!” Round and round she turned the crank to another sweet song and out came the wish, neat and clean as the first. She put the third about her mother reading her a story into the slot, turned the handle at least twelve times to another merry melody and out it came like the others.
There was a sound in the driveway. Bunny’s parents were home! The boys stopped their game and ran down the stairs. The children opened the door for their folks. The rain had stopped and the sun shined bravely.
When everything was back to normal Mother suggested a story for Bunny. All three wishes had come true. It was a new book and Bunny snuggled on Mother’s lap. The story began:
“The prospects for the day were quite bleak. The sky had wept inconsolably since dawn…”